Enhancing Classroom Instruction with Online News

Michael D. Ekstrand, Katherine Landau Wright, and Maria Soledad Pera. 2020. Enhancing Classroom Instruction with Online News. Aslib Journal of Information Management (June 2020). DOI 10.1108/AJIM-11-2019-0309.

Teacher helping students read on a laptop.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper investigates how school teachers look for informational texts for their classrooms. Access to current, varied and authentic informational texts improves learning outcomes for K-12 students, but many teachers lack resources to expand and update readings. The Web offers freely available resources, but finding suitable ones is time-consuming. This research lays the groundwork for building tools to ease that burden.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper reports qualitative findings from a study in two stages: (1) a set of semistructured interviews, based on the critical incident technique, eliciting teachers' information-seeking practices and challenges; and (2) observations of teachers using a prototype teaching-oriented news search tool under a think-aloud protocol.

Findings

Teachers articulated different objectives and ways of using readings in their classrooms, goals and self-reported practices varied by experience level. Teachers struggled to formulate queries that are likely to return readings on specific course topics, instead searching directly for abstract topics. Experience differences did not translate into observable differences in search skill or success in the lab study.

Originality/value

There is limited work on teachers' information-seeking practices, particularly on how teachers look for texts for classroom use. This paper describes how teachers look for information in this context, setting the stage for future development and research on how to support this use case. Understanding and supporting teachers looking for information is a rich area for future research, due to the complexity of the information need and the fact that teachers are not looking for information for themselves.

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